Magazine article U.S. Catholic

No Crystal Stair

Magazine article U.S. Catholic

No Crystal Stair

Article excerpt

NO CRYSTAL STAIR

Diana L. Hayes (Orbis Books, 2016)

[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

Diana Hayes' new book is a compilation of essays, prayers, and reflections written throughout her long career as one of the church's most preeminent black female theologians. Borrowing the title from Langston Hughes' poem "Mother and Son," Hayes paints a vivid picture of black women's spirituality in the United States, a spirituality that incorporates the legacy of almost 500 years of slavery and prejudice, and yet keeps on carrying women and the people around them toward God.

Readers who are familiar with the writing of black female writers such as Alice Walker, Emilie Townes, and Hayes herself will be inspired by her descriptions of womanist spirituality and her own spiritual journey. But even those who have never before heard the term womanist can gain much from Hayes' description of how people's theology stems from their own personal history. Black women have struggled, says Hayes, but out of this struggle is birthed a spirituality that focuses on community, creativity, and the pervasive sense of a God who acts within history for the good of all. …

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